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Battling world hunger with math

posted: Tue, May 9th, 2017

Emma Maggio, Katie Keegan, and Sienna Volpe completed the most math problems which helped two seventh grade math classes donate rice to countries in need 

Vanessa Ambrosi's honors math students have fed someone in the Third World for more than a month – just by learning. The two classes competed against each other to see which could solve the most math problems on a website that donates rice to the U.N. World Food Programme for each correct answer.

In total, the seventh-graders solved more than 86,000 math problems on Freerice.com. That equates to a donation of 18,000 grams of rice (almost 40 pounds).

Students worked on the website at home in their spare time.

"The competition motivated them to further their learning on their own," said Ms. Ambrosi. "They chose to do it themselves, it wasn't an assignment. Over just one weekend they earned more than 10,000 grams of rice."

The winner of the competition was Ms. Ambrosi's sixth period class which had the three students with the most problems solved. Katie Keegan led the way, solving almost 24,000 math problems. Emma Maggio took 2nd place with more than 19,600 correct questions. Sienne Volpe was 3rd with about 5,100 math problems solved. 

Freerice.com is a non-profit organization that is owned by and supports the U.N. World Food Programme. Advertisers on the site such as Walmart and Dodge provide the funding. (A different banner ad is shown for each correct response.) 

Anyone can answer questions on Freerice.com and help combat hunger in the Third World. Besides math, categories of questions include grammar, vocabulary, world languages, world geography, capital cities, human anatomy, and chemical symbols.

Since its inception in 2007, Freerice.com has distributed more than 2 billion grams of rice (4.4 million pounds) to countries where chronic hunger exists. Bangladesh, Cambodia, Haiti, Myanmar, Nepal, and Uganda are some of the countries that have benefited. 

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